Monday, 11 August 2008


Yesterday, all my spices seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay. At least now I've found a top traditional indian convenience store in Agbrigg in Wakefield. The shop might have been pokey but with HUGE bags of spices, rices and nices at stupidly low prices who am I to argue.

So yeah I got all the ingredients I'll ever need to make curries for the rest of my life and all because of and his recent curry postings....wait....what's that ? Yes I know I've only got into curries recently but there is a reason for that. Let me explain....

See, as a child of the 1970's and 80's my palate was one assaulted with bland post war traditional cookings and easy cook branded ready meals. The menu in the Gnomepants house would have been one like some awful greasy spoon. Chips with everything, suspicious cheap mince (avec spinal material) and fish (in the form of fingers) on a Friday. Pies were fattening so they were few and far between and the most exotic thing on the kitchen table was probably spaghetti bolognaise (the garlicless version:- Mince, dried onions, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and a teaspoon of dried thyme).

I think around 1982 (possibly later) my folks must have been somewhere where they had a curry. I recall one Saturday my olds opening a tin labelled "Marks and Spencers Curried Chicken", heating the contents in a pan and serving it with rice, a selection of sliced fruits (bananas, apples and orange segments) and some sultanas in little dishes. They then proceeded to eat the bizarrely smelling substance with gusto. The pair of them sweating with the spice heat and strained "Yes this is nice. No really." looks on their faces. Such a sight is enough to put anyone off their dinner. I wasn't offered any curry, I had to make do with something with chips. I forget what. Probably offal sausage. Though, not wanting to be left out, I was given a spoonful to sample and I immediately knew that curry was not a nice food, just like beer was not a nice drink. My father would comment about how all Indian food tasted like that and some now probably socially unacceptable comment about Asian culture. Such was the early 80s. Oh how we laughed.

So that meal put me off curries. Even in later life I would scoff at the thought of eating in a curry house "Good god!" I'd exclaim "These people are very odd eating that foul stuff". I would hold curry in the same regard I still hold Marmite (but marmite is poisonous). Spicy foods were shunned and in my early 20s I continued my non-exotic diet of chips with everything (deep fried in lard) and post-rationing treats (sausages, bacon, pies) with the occasional garnish of vegatable (mostly baked beans or peas, rarely carrots). What a terrible diet I had. No wonder I had a heart attack at 29.
When I was living alone in my little flat in Patterdale Road my friend at the time, Min, introduced me to the delights and wonders of kebab. Kebab was the perfect after pub snack. Spicy and foreign it would belie new and exciting journey into food. Min also popped my chinese cherry and took me beyond the realms of Sweet and Sour Chicken and down the dark recesses of crispy duck pancake and chilli beef in black bean sauce. My new found palate was keen to explore. But never curry. Even Min would smirk at the thought of people eating rotten meat disguised with spices. Though that smirk might have just been in mockery of my assumptions that Indian food was rotten meat disguised with spices.

Curry was awful. Even the smell would knock me sick. Though Chinese curry sauce became acceptable. As did Coronation Chicken Sandwiches. Chinese curry was different, wasn't it? And Coronation Chicken was just an interesting spicy mayonnaise. I had a kebab from a different kebab shop where, unbeknownst to me, the donar meat was flavoured with curry powder. I was nearly sick. The kebab was discarded and curry was shunned more.

Then about three or four years ago (I don't know, you might want to check back in my LJ, I'm sure I made a post about it) I went on a night out with and his chums. After several pints it was decided that something was needed to soak up the alcohol. I was hoping an all you can eat chinese restaurant would be selected but you can probably imagine my horror when I learned that the foodery of choice was to be an Indian Curry house. I was mocked by . His chums also smirked at my horror. It was as though these well cultured metropolitan gentlemen had suddenly unearthed a time trapped Neanderthal. My attitude, on reflection, was one of nurture rather than nature.

I seem to remember the waiter at the restaurant guiding me into having a dhansak based on my discussion of Chinese foods. I enjoyed it. Surprisingly I actually enjoyed it. The thoughts of rotten meat disguised by spices and sauces faded. Since then, I have dined in several Indian restaurants and have even partaken in take aways of similar origin. Indeed, delighted as I am with this new found culinary genre I have even bought a book after a recommendation from .

So last night I made a chicken dupazia. It was probably the best curry I've had in a long time. My pantry smells like an international food store with odours of fenugreek, star anise and methi leaves. Over dinner my wife said that my mum and dad would probably enjoy it. To which I scoffed. "Yes, maybe if we served it in a tin labelled "Marks and Spencer" and with little dishes of fruit. Of course this then made me think of how my folks now travel up their road to their friends once a month so that they can dine on curry from a takeaway. I amused myself with thoughts of my mum and dad trying to look cultured and being horrified to discover that curry served with little dishes of fruit is so 1970's.

Bless them.

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Friday, 8 August 2008

Not So Supermarket

Tonight I did something I haven't done in a long while.

I visited a supermarket. Asda in Barnsley to be precise.

Now I know some of you will say "Ah but Stegzy, you go to the Co-Op and the Co-Op is a supermarket!" and some will say "Ah but you were in a supermarket with me the other day". Indeed, this may be the case, but with the Co-Op, they actually pay me to shop there (I get about £12 a year from them) they actually source their non-branded goods from local farms and actually put back into the community what they take out; With the other visit I wasn't actually doing any shopping. OK?

Right, now I've got that clear, I shall continue my tale. So I'd decided that I was going to cook a curry a la and in doing so I required certain ingredients that Co-Op don't stock. Why Co-Op don't stock these things isn't a mystery along the lines of Nazca or the assassination of JFK. It is quite simple. The Co-Op's in Barnsley don't stock certain lines because most people in Barnsley think that bananas are exotic and anything that smells, sounds or looks slightly foreign probably is foreign and should be eyed with suspicion. So because the Co-Ops in Barnsley are bobbins I had to go to a larger supermarket. Tescos, a behemoth of retail and convenience (and we should all by now be aware of the TRUE COST OF CONVENIENCE), is out near Stairfoot and Morrisons (a local supermarket company) tend to sell food that is close to the sell by date (hence why they can sell stuff for less). The convenient choice was therefore Asda and yes probably the least ethical of the three choices.

So I pulled into the already busy car park and parked summoning the will power to break the self conditioning of not shopping in a supermarket. Within ten minutes I found myself entering hell. Hell of people. The Hell of retail, people and consumerism. Conveniently placed at Harbour Hills Roundabout. The sweat on my back from the humid day was joined by an uneasy sweat. The kind of sweat one might get if one suffers from clostro or some other debilitating phobia. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing to fear from supermarkets because I am free from their spell. I know the ways they do their mischief and how they use sneaky psychological tricks to make you, the ordinary person, part with their hard earned cash without realising.

First thing that struck me was the trolleys. In Britain, trolleys tend to escape and return to the rivers from where they spawn. In order to prevent this some supermarket companies chain the trolleys together and these require the shopper to insert a £1 coin to temporarily release the trolley from captivity. Now I don't carry cash. When I've got cash I tend to spend it. Usually on nothing at all. The solution being not to carry cash and to use debit cards instead. Sadly trolleys don't accept Switch or Maestro. So first off you need to part with money to obtain a trolley. Granted, this separation from cash is temporary as, when you return the trolley, you get your £1 back. So if you have no money on you, you can't use a trolley. Fortunately, some years back, I found one of them trolley token things and I keep the fucker in my wallet for such occasions.

So with my trolley, which I could just dump should I want to with no cost to myself, I entered the palace of convenience. The sight that greeted me was one of disgust. The shop is divided into two sections. Clothes, books and "seasonal goods" on one side and the rest on the other. The food, or other side, is in turn split into several sections. Shoppers choosing to ignore the non-foody goods are herded to the suspicious looking fresh fruit, veg and meat of mysterious origin side. This area is close together, people fight over the uniform carrots, trip over the spilled potatoes and wrestle with their bored looking children. A swarm of people foraging, milling about and shoving each other to get to the trough.

Fortunately I didn't require fruit or veg on this visit. I did however require meat. The meat aisles are no better than the fruit and veg aisles. Narrow aisles lined with open faced chillers doing untold damage to the environment and gobbling more energy than if the shoppers had decided to stay at home and wank. Pre-packaged meats on open chilled shelves. Inviting the shopper to partake in "BRITISH FARM STANDARD" meats. Each package gaily adorned with the grinning fizog of some skilfully crafted farmer as if to suggest to the ethically half aware shopper that this meat really is from a farm in Britain. That this man whose face is stickered onto the packaging is the very man that single handedly raised the calf or chick from which the meat didst come. That his "I wouldn't lie to you" face is one of sincerity and one of a benevolent farmer that probably allows his animals to take day trips to Scarborough. Of course this farmer would probably have a farm the size of France if he truly supplied the amount of meat that Asda sell. The sticker also tells the prospective purchaser that the meat (in this case chicken) has been reared "finest quality farm assured". Now does that mean the farm is of the finest quality? Gold shavings for animal bedding, luxurious mangers and 24/7 masseuse on call? Or does it mean fuck all. I think I'll go for the "Fuck all" option and if I was a betting man I'd probably be very wealthy.

I could not see any organic or free range meat. I felt as herded as the very animal I was about to eat. Basically the only choice I had was the package assuring me that the animal was reared by Brian Trusler who, it seems, has some weird fervour and devotion to "rearing the finest quality farm assured chicken". Yet nowhere on the label did it say that the meat was organic. No where did it say that the meat was free-range. I only had Asdas marketing people's say so and I wouldn't trust them to give me next weeks winning lottery numbers. But chicken was needed so a blind eye was turned. I really should go to the opticians about it. It could be glaucoma.

The next thing that struck me was the way the store was laid out. The food things seemed to be on one side; the cleaning things on the other. Healthy options were secreted away and prominence was given to high fat, salt and sugar content foods. Even greater prominence given to Asda Own Brand. The widest aisles, it seems, were those devoted to the slow poisoning of the human body by salt, fat and sugar. The healthy snacks were on display though. But eyes, it seems, are drawn away from these to the less healthy options. Even the bread stuffs. The bread aisle had the loaves of bread on the shelves next to which were doughnuts, cakes and other fatty foods. I could feel my arteries hardening just being in proximity to them. The breakfast cereals, the alcoholic drinks, the frozen goods; all laid out the same. Fat first, health second. A weaker shopper would have no hesitation in succumbing to Asdas witchcraftery.

Worse yet, the children. It seems that tonight was "lets take the children to the supermarket" night. Instead of tying them up outside with the dogs and vagrants, people actually bring their spoilt demanding offspring into the palace of convenience.

Old man - "Put that back Ashzara you'll drop it and you'll be in trouble"
Ashzara - "But I think I like it granddad"

She "thinks" she likes it. She likes it alright. It's full of lovely chemicals, sugar and toxins. Yes granddad, you are poisoning your own granddaughter with your love for her. If you actually cared for the child you'd have left her at home. You already had a trolley full of similar demands. Jelly, cake, crisps. Poor Ashzara, in 4 years time she'll be wondering why her face is spotty and why the boys don't like her.

Then I reached the 5th level of Hell. I espied the tortured souls in the form of those without gorm. Blocking the aisle containing the cook in sauces. Each scrutinising the ingredient label as if to find some half forgotten scripture that might reveal the secret of weight loss, or maybe something really obscure with which to announce their childs latest trendy allergy ("Yes little Johnny is allergic to monosulphurpolyphosphate" "Well my little Jimmy is allergic to tricitricbiphenolicamine"). But not wanting to break from their intense study to allow other shoppers to pass, they just stand there. Trolley blocking the aisle. There faces cracking with concentration as if they are willing the calorific value of Ragu to decrease. Too intent on their quest to even acknowledge anybody else. I was in danger of being trapped by other shopping zombies approaching from behind. Fortunately I am skilled in Trolley-Fu and a quick but sharp ram of my trolley usually results in a shocked look and an apology from those without gorm.

As I approached the 6th level, my ears beheld a sound I had not heard for some time. Not the sound of a thousand score tortured souls, but none other than "Star" by Kiki Dee. Which, I am sure you will agree, is far worse than any assault on the ears. By this time my stress levels had reached biblical proportions. I was feeling violent, sweaty and in danger of causing someone an injury. I had to finish my shopping trip before I ended up in gaol.
Alas, I was still without at least 5 items on my shopping list. Things just weren't where they should be. Spices and herbs were with the milk, yogurt and tinned fruit; Eggs were with the frozen foods; I never located the vinegar, I imagine that would be with the bleach or beauty products. This warren (sorry FJ) of convenience, this trap of hell, this prison of consumerism was in danger of causing me to have severe health problems. I battled my way to the check out. Not even daring to take part in one of the "check your own shit out" tills in case I gave myself an anurism. Dear God. If the woman at the checkout smiled she might have cracked her face. She threw my goods down the conveyor past her infrared scanner without a care then just stood there expectedly. Awaiting payment. I had expected a cheery "That would be £34 please". Instead I got "......". What? Do I just walk out? No? I need to pay. I am a good citizen. I just came to Asda by mistake. Like Barnsley, It seemed like a good idea at the time and now I am paying for it. I shoved my card into the slot and rammed my PIN numbers into the console. The miserable old cow behind the checkout thanked me by presenting me with my receipt and grunted. Maybe they knew I wasn't a force to be reckoned with. Maybe I don't have that "I shop at supermarkets" smell and the staff knew. No doubt they will be sending the comedy inflatable breasted tight fitting PVC catsuited vampiresses after me. I must be prepared.

I got to the carpark. Rolled a cigarette and made a swift departure. But not before I reclaimed my trolley token.

"Never again" I swore.

Until the next time that is.

Monday, 14 July 2008

No! Not the bore worms

Some chief bigwig of the Metropolitan Police was on telly this morning suggesting that a spell of what he called "Compulsary Non-military National Service" would sort the youth problem in the UK.

Short of breeding controls, I think it's a damn good idea. Especially as now I'm not a teenager. I would suggest that "Compulsary Non-military National Service" could be geared toward 14-16 year olds. During this period of National Service the youths would be encouraged to do community tasks (ie visiting old people; doing environmental jobs such as sweeping, litter picking, graffiti cleaning; and the like). Their toil would not go unrewarded as they would get payment in the form of a vouchers which they can then spend on vocational, further or higher education.

Of course such fantastic ideas never come to fruition and I imagine that in my old age the youth problem will still be in existence.

News Article

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Dear Microsoft,

I have worked with computers since 1995 in various technical capacities. I think it would be nice to be able to do things on my own computer without having to confirm everything every five minutes.



Dear Acer,

Thank you for my new computer. However, you do bundle a lot of crap with your computers. Maybe you should offer the customer the option to install them should they think they need it rather than having the stuff preinstalled.



Zooomr : ,

Monday, 7 July 2008

Waste not Want not

Our beloved and most glorious exhalted leader of the Great and Holy Third British Empire, Gordon Brown, says that we waste food. We do. We waste like the selfish ignorant fat westerners we are. Often I muse on how times have changed (in parallel with the growth, surprise surprise, of supermarkets), how we take far too much for granted (space, food, air, the environment) and how we are all, not just us Yoropeans but Merricans and Ayzians alike, heading for a massive crunch. In our own life time. Miserable as it sounds and reads, there is no escaping from this fact. The people we "elect" into power in order to find solutions to our problems think, quite rightly or not, profit before benefit and tell us, fickle unworthy peasants that we are, what we can and can't do to alleviate the issue. Such is the way of modern life.

I remember my nan would try to use everything, and I mean absolutely everything, that came into the house food wise. Stale bread - Bread & butter pudding. The fat from bacon or beef - dripping. The plastic bags from bread - handy little rubbish containers. Even the little metal tin casing from pies would be reused. I look at my world now and I see waste. I see perfectly edible food being thrown away. I see sacks full of rubbish where there need be none. Even when I take a trip to the tip with rubble or wood from the house I see evidence of this sickening throw away culture in which we reside. But for the purpose of this rant I will point in the direction of food.

When I roast a chicken. I pick off all the uneaten meat and use it for sandwiches or salads. The carcass I boil away and make into a stock. Even the vegetables, when they look limp and gay go to become a tasty soup rather than join the rotting peels at the bottom of the compost bin. In this day and age, it is obscene that people waste food. Really. No SERIOUSLY. There is no need to waste food AT ALL. If you throw away a bag of spuds because they've gone mouldy WHY THE HELL DID YOU BUY SUCH A BIG BAG IN THE FIRST PLACE? There are people starving in Africa. There are people who are malnourished in your own country. Yet what do you do? Chuck away quantities of food. You really should be ashamed of yourself. I am. I waste food sometimes. I feel dreadful about wasting food. The only food that should be wasted is parsnips and marmite. And even then that is only because they are foodstuffs in the loosest sense of the word. No. Food is as precious as water and electricity. We should cherish it while we have it. It won't be long before we will be thinking wistfully at the days when we could chuck away a whole goose just for the sake of it.

People are overweight. Yes. People are fat fat fatties because they eat too much. They eat and eat then throw away whatever is left. People have high cholesterol, high salt intakes, really bad diets and are putting a strain on medical resources. I know. I'm one of them! Yes. I am a fatty fat fat. I use the scales at Newton Abbot rather than the ones in my bathroom. We eat shite. We waste it. We do not deserve to sit at the top of the food chain. We are but a pestilent slug like cancer upon this planet.

So after this announcement from Mr Brown (the Most Beloved Great and Glorious Emperor of the Third Holy and Magnificent British Empire) it got me thinking what better way to lose weight, regulate peoples dietary intake and solve the impending food crisis than imposing rations onto the populace once more. Wouldn't that be great? When I was on the dole back in 1995-1997 I learnt how to manage on £140 a month. These monetary skills I carried on into later life and, yes I know I cock up sometimes, now I still try to manage my funds in a similar fashion. Indeed, living on a pittance with naught but beans and something labelled "bread" which clearly wasn't, teaches one to make food stretch. So yes, rations would have the same effect. Of course, since the war people have become more fussy. All sorts of allergies and intolerances are abound but with medicinally approved dietary control watching what we eat there would be no need to worry. You would still get your rationing like everybody else, just the equivalent of such. Of course there would not be any need for draconian measures such as powdered egg and powdered milk because there wouldn't be as much as a shortage of such (during the war animals were seen as draining of resources so a lot of the live stock were culled).

Nobody would need to go hungry, nobody would need to worry about wasting things. We could all sit round the radiogram singing along to Vera Lynn and take shelter in the Anderson. It would be like the 1940's all over again. :-) Thinner, wealthier and smelling of carbolic.

Of course it's not going to happen like that, but still, I believe a short 5 year spell on rationing is what we in the western world need to remind ourselves how damn fucking lucky we are to be where we are.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

What to write about poll: <lj user="mostcurious"> and Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is one of those home comfort foods. It is highly adaptable and the recipe has a habit of being completely different depending on the chef.

For those in doubt cottage pie is beef or pork mince with vegetables in a rich gravy topped by mashed potatoes. If you use lamb mince it is called shepherds pie. And don't let anyone tell you any different.

Stegzy Gnomepants' Amazing Cottage Pie

You will need:-

500g Minced beef or pork (for a vegetarian alternative use beanfeast or quorn or shredded cardboard)

1 onion (chopped)

2 carrots (chopped sliced or diced)

Hendersons Relish (or Worcester sauce)

1 heaped Tblsp Tomato puree

1 chopped tomato

6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

2/3rds of a pint of beef or vegetable stock

Herbs (I used sage, oregano and rosemary)



A splash of milk

Salt and pepper


  1. Take your onion, half the garlic and carrots and fry in a large sauce pan until colour changes.

  2. Add beef and fry further until brown.

  3. Add tomato puree and tomato (add also a sprinkle of sugar to bring out the tomato flavour)

  4. Add herbs, Hendersons relish and stock.

  5. Season well and bring to the boil.

  6. Simmer for 20 minutes

  7. Meanwhile boil your potatoes until soft.

  8. Drain potatoes and mash them adding the butter, the rest of the garlic and a splash of milk. Season to taste.

  9. Pour the beef mixture into a casserole dish

  10. Top with the mashed potato. (at this stage you might like to add some parmesan or grated cheese)

  11. Bake in the oven 190° for 30 minutes

  12. Serve with cabbage and other fart inducing vegetables

  13. Eat

  14. Fart like a bastard.

  15. Don't apologise.

Gardeners Questiontime

According to the packet of seeds this plant

Is lettuce.

Now, there is some lettuce in this part of the veg patch but I'm buggered if that is lettuce. It has furry leaves with a prickly texture. Can anyone identify it for me?


Is it me or are there no television shows or books about a crime fighting/ murder solving dentist?

Monday, 30 June 2008

Hairdressers I have known

Those that read may recall I did a post a month or so back requesting details of what you would like to read about. The winner was "Hairdressers I have known"

People ask me " How do you get your hair to look so fine and bountiful?"

"Easy" I reply "I leave it the fuck alone"

Some people are shocked by such a response and end up moving away muttering to themselves under their breath but others quiz me further until I move away muttering to myself. I'm a firm believer in letting nature take it's course. Nothing goes on my hair other than water, the occasional bit of shampoo, air and a bit of finger grease. I wash it when it feels mucky. I tend not to brush it vigorously and I never apply any gels, oils, creams or poultices. I leave it the fuck alone.

The same goes for having it cut. For really special occasions and that I'll have it cut if it is required. So I go for the natural look. Nothing artificial goes on it, plain and simple. Though it hasn't always been that way. Indeed, there was a time when I used to frequent hair dressers or barbers on a regular timetable. I'd happily part with my £5 for 20 minutes under the scissors of (an often) camp chap while they gave me a short back and sides a la my dad in the 1950's. Of course I didn't know any better. Easy money for no work at all imho. (Apologies to any hairdressers that read this)

Initial Visits - Norman

I can't remember my first excursion to a hair technician. I imagine it was probably what used to be called Norman's. Owned, surprisingly, by a chap called Norman, Norman's was a traditional barbers shop. As far as I can remember it has occupied the same little shop at the Grange Lane crossroads in Gateacre in Liverpool. It could be that a barber has occupied that shop since it was built. I have no idea, but I do know that I've only ever known it as a barbers shop. The shop may have had a red and white barbers pole on the outside and it may have had a horrid interior. It was so long ago I can't remember.

Norman was a typical scouse bloke. He was always cheery but he had a reputation as being a bit "close to the scalp". Indeed, such was his reputation as a scalper my friend at the time Guy would often relate to me stories about how Norman had decapitated a man during a Number One all over.
Such stories were unfounded as Guy frequented Tuzios in Hunts Cross and Tuzio had a reputation of bumming little boys in the back room (again unfounded).

What I do remember of the shops interior was that the barber’s chair was an awful cranky uppie thing upon which Norman would place a plank of wood for small boys to sit on. Upon the walls there were black and white photographs of men with various stylish hair styles. None of which I actually saw being achieved by or asked of Norman. The pictures had you wanting to be stylish and they had you wanting to be swarve because the guys in the pictures were obviously swarve and stylish. They probably drove fast cars, wore white socks with their black brothel creepers and generally lounged about looking cool. Though they were probably not.

Norman continued to be the barbers of choice for several years of my childhood. Ceasing to be such by the time I was in my early teens and my eldest brother decided that the side parted mummy's boy geeky look was probably not doing me any favours.

Millionhairs - Corny 80's hair

My eldest brother used to insist that shellsuits were the dogs knob of fashion and that the brighter the colours the better. Indeed he also advocated the vogue of spiky Bros like flat tops and copious amounts of styling gel. My eldest brother was also insistent that a VIC 20 was far superior to a Spectrum 48k and that XR3i's were better than Capris. In effect my eldest brother was a victim of the 80's in a big and embarrassing way. He lapped up the latest trends like a dog laps water after a very long walk.

So it comes as no surprise that as a susceptible teen I was taken by him to a stylish hairdresser rather than a God awful barber like Norman. He whisked me off to the clichéd Millionhairs in some dirty back street of St Helens in Lancashire (near where he lived). The hair dresser, whose name I forget now, was as camp as Butlins, Pontins and Stalag Luft 44 all merged together and sprinkled with a bit of Xray and baked in an Auschwitz case.

The exterior was nothing special. No barbers pole this time. The inside of the shop was like something out of an 80's cop show. All pampas grass, plush leather couches and the like. I was given a diet coke(!). I had my hair washed (first time at a hairdressers ever). I had it styled, sculpted and preened. I felt great. In fact when I got home my mum looked so pleased to see her new style boy with his turquoise track suit and gelled Bros hair cut.

But try as I might, even with all the Brylcreme in the world I could not make my hair go like it did that day. It would flop, go too crusty or make my head itch. Furthermore, this new look did me no favours and in fact the taunts got worse. Bollocks to that.

Herberts of Liverpool

My brother moved from St Helens to the newly growing new town of Runcorn. What an awful place that was too. As a consequence of him being away from the town of St Helens it meant that having my hair cut again at Millionhairs would prove to be tricky. Instead my dad encouraged me to try Herberts in Liverpool. What a fucking travesty that was. I had my hair cut by a trainee. I looked a right sight.

The more observant of you will probably know Herbert as being a bit of an E-list celebrity. He had a TV show in the 80s/90's and has a reputation as being the best hairstylist in Liverpool. Pity about his trainees really. I think my experience there was so bad I've blocked it from my mind entirely. In fact whenever I see Herbert on the telly I start rocking back and forth, humming to myself while foaming at the mouth. I think I even went back to Normans a couple of times.

Boy's and Curls

Dear God. It gets worse. The Eldest brother (do you see a pattern here?) moved once more, this time to Belle Vale in Liverpool. Being nearer to the family home meant that his choice of hairdresser was the choice we all had to make. So it was Boy's and Curls.

Boy's and Curls was originally a barbers shop. It was were all the Netherley scrotes and Lee Park Scallies went to get their nit infested heads shaved. Worried about the reputation of being a nit shop, Boy's and Curls reinvented themselves as a stylish boutique with black and white checkered flooring, bright lights and mirrors but held onto that "Come 'ere lad while I chop some of your girly hair off" feel. But trapped like a rat in a corner I would reluctantly attend the shop at the bequest of my mother. "Goangetyeraircut" she would screech at me.

Old habits die hard - His and Hairs, Sheffield

Then I became a student in Sheffield. As my 20's are now mostly a fuss of misshapen memory I will relate what I can remember of my one and only hair cut in Sheffield.

I'd been away from home about a month when my mum said to me that I must remember to get my hair cut. I mulled over this for weeks until one day I'm doing my laundry and I noticed that the shop next to the laundrette was a Unisex Salon.

Having made a foolish mistake in the past of going into a Unisex Salon and expecting the people there to cut my hair only to be told "We don't do men" I thought what harm would it do to nip in and ask while I waited for my crusty bedsheets to finish their wash.

"Do you cut men’s hair?" I asked and was answered by a fit of giggles and a rather jovial Jamaican woman hairdresser. I had my head pulled from side to side, the ends of the scissors stabbed into my scalp and I'm bloody lucky to still have ears I can tell you.

Fortunately the last I heard about that shop was that it had caught fire. Bloody good job I say.

The present day - From Tony & Guy to Highlights

So as you can guess, my experience with hairdressers and barbers has been one of chaos and discomfort. In the early 90's when I'd returned to Liverpool I met Min. Who told me that he hadn't had a hair cut for years. I idolised Min, he was the youth I wanted to be. Carefree, pot smoking, rocker type. His hair was so long it put Rapunzel to shame. Using my new found confidence I put my foot down and refused to get my hair cut.

Of course refusal is often fraught with times when you just give in to protests of "Get your hair cut". So in order to maintain a quality head of hair I only allow highly qualified stylists near my bonse, meaning I have to go to Toni & Guy's. Indeed, I had to have a couple of knots cut out before then and a visit to Highlights in Grimethorpe was called for on the recommendation of Mrs Gnomepants. But I resent paying large sums of money for hardly any work. I find it obscene that some people (mainly women) will gladly fritter away upwards of £50 for less than an hour under the scissors. Indeed, if such people would like to save half that money, come to Brierley and I'll cut your hair for you.

And so drawing this post to a close (thank God I hear you cry) I'd like to thank for the excellent trim she gave me a couple of months ago. She did a damn fine job. For free. And in less than 20 minutes.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Nothing to see - A poem by Stegzy Gnomepants

No Giant bats

Nor Mutant cats

or Flying mats

Nothing much has happened

There's been no riots

To disturb the quiets

Nor changes in diets

Nothing much has happened

It's deadly boring

You can hear me snoring

We're getting some flooring

On Tuesday

But until then

I'll write again

But only when

Something happens.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Poo Hem

Gravy - A devotion to food by Stegzy Gnomepants



Give me a mouthful do

I'm all cravey

Love for that hot brown goo

I'd drink it from a tub

They should sell it at the pub

With lumps and bits

I'd rub it on my tits

Just a jugful of gravy ooooh

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Man in the window

The Man in the Window (The Tree Part II) - A crap poem by T'gnomepants


Can you see


Look at me


I've got birds in my arms


Look at my charms


I'm a bit chilly


I'm brown and look silly


I'm the tree


With wavy about arms


The wind has calmed

Thursday, 19 June 2008

More dreadful poetry

The Tree - Another bloody awful poem by Stegzy Gnomepants (aged 34 and a half)

I see you waving

At me through the window pale

Across the crazy paving

I see your arms flail

With every breath of air

And every shake of wind

You wave and I despair

Like tuna, old and tinned

You cast off your raiment

From October to March

I'm going to demand payment

Your frame containeth starch

You are the tree

Majestic bold and boughed

Waving branches at me

Green and brown and proud

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The Postman

Here comes the postman

Walking down the lane

What wonders he carries in his sack

Multicoloured envelopes

Brown and even plain

Giros and Postal orders

Parcels and bills

Repeat prescriptions for next door

So they can get their pills

Letters from the bank

Letters from afar

Subscriptions to magazines

Offers for a car

Bulging with all that weight

There must be something for me

That I can sit and open

And read with a cup of tea

He's drawing ever closer

With parcels for next door

It won't be long until I hear

Some letters on the floor

But wait! Please stop

There's some mistake

You've missed my door

You postal snake

You've missed me out

Where's my mail?

I scream and shout

Till I go pale

Still there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Nostell Steam Rally

Today was such a lovely day it was agreed that tools should be downed and that a visit to the Nostell Steam Rally would be in order. Now don't get me wrong; I am not some weirdo steam enthusiast that wanks lyrical about steam. I'm not. I like steam engines. I can stand and watch their technological wizardry for hours. But if I never saw another steam engine then I wouldn't be bitter. I'd be a bit sad maybe, but I wouldn't like like "OMG! ONOES! T EH steamz0rzzzz WTF!"

Still, I do like a good gathering of people that like to display their weirdnesses. At £6 entrance fee, it was reasonably priced. I got to see lots of steam engines (from ickle tiny ones to HUGE "mo'fo' get out the way or it will squish you" ones. Also in the bargain was a vintage car rally. There was a time when Ford Granada's were common place. Now they are classed as vintage! This also goes for Capris which, rather bizarrely, have an owners club based in Leeds. See that sort of passion, I cannot understand, but still some people like that sort of thing so who am I to judge.

So I took some piccies and some video but my camera phone has been playing up recently (How fortuitous. It was working like a dream last week and now that I'm in range of my contract expiring it has started to goof up, funny that isn't it? No doubt if I ring Orange up and say "Oi My phone is knackered!" they would say "Oh well seeing as your contract runs out in July why not upgrade and have a new contract with it. Yeah right) so I have no guarantee there is sound on the videos.

So without further ado (and because I've got a 16oz Rump steak with my name on it in the fridge) may I present the photos that came out.

Nostell Priory

The entrance to the rally

Steam things

A steam powered thing

Yet another steam powered thing

It's a Capri, it might as well be steam powered. Did you know Ford used special rust generating steel to make Ford Capris?

A bus (petrol or possibly diesel powered but for the purposes of this post please imagine it is steam powered)

Tractors. There be farmers around somewhere.

Look mum! Steam things!

Steam powered birds of prey!

A steam powered mini (ok maybe not but it's a minimini)

A steam powered organ thing

Another steam powered organ thing

Yet one more steam powered organ thing

Saturday, 24 May 2008


One of my on-going projects is the tagging of past LJ entries. This morning I mined these two classics from way back when.

Paranoia -

Antisocial behaviour -

Ah, such innocent times. Though looking back has reminded me that for some reason or other the intention to move to Yorkshire had lurked, almost unnoticed. Hmmmm

Edited to add - My dinner last night consisted of

Cumberland Sausage and mash with cabbage

Home made onion gravy.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Eyes - A poem by Stegzy Gnomepants

I see you looking up at me

Your eyes unblinking

I cut you into wedges

Into hot boiling water, sinking

For the crimes you've committed

And the sins you've made

After the fork

And before the spade

And when you're soft

But not quite cooked

I pop you into the oven

Ha ha! Now you're fucked

180 degrees

Two thousand seconds

Until you crisp up

My plate it beckons

And as your dead eyes

Stare up at me

I coat you with condiments

Sodium free

It serves you right

You evil spud

But I have to admit

You do taste quite good.

Ah thankyou.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Bath time - A poem by Stegzy Gnomepants

Turn the tap on

Let the water out

Put the plug in

It's too hot so shout

Wait for the tub

To fill to half

Then add the cold

It's time for your bath

Mix in the bubbles

Ready the flannel

But don't lean to hard

On the baths side panel

In with the toe

Is it too hot?

Did you take off your sock?

No! I thought not

Strip to your skin

Step into the bath

Clean behind your ears

Splish splash and laugh

And when it's gone cold

And you're wrinkled like a prune

Its time to get out

Until your next bath in June

Ah thank you

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Some of you lot want to see the bathroom. So I've taken some pictures and plonked them here. Bear in mind that these pictures only show the fittings. At the moment there is no floor covering and the walls have yet to be painted (but I can't start that until all the laundry and tidying has been done) and you're not allowed to use the shower or sink or bath until tomorrow because the sealant needs 48 hours to set (yes I'm quite aware that 48 hrs have passed since the plumber left but Mrs Gnomepants has instituted an embargo on its use until tomorrow morning)

I can't be arsed to tell you what the pictures show, so you'll just have to pretend.

Friday, 16 May 2008

[<a href="">LJ2ME</a>] Safety notice

"in case of emergency passengers are reminded not to take personal belongings with them." Does that mean I have to strip off?

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

People on the bus

So I'm driving home from a hard 3.5 hours work (did I mention I only work 7 hours a week these days?) and I'm listening to the wireless and the Home service Radio 4. The programme being broadcast was about a newspaper editor from Zimbabwe and how he is adapting to life as an asylum seeker in the UK. One of the main differences, he pointed out, between Harare and the UK was how people didn't seem to talk to each other on public transport.

Now surprisingly, this guy lives in Leeds which is a good deal away from London where I believe such practices as ignoring ones fellow passengers is common place. It kind of shocked me and my Northern mind set because I'd always thought of the south as being a bit....well you know....insular when it comes to talking to complete strangers. Indeed, I'm happy to sit there with my earphones in (sometimes without anything attached at the other end) to avoid the weirdo on the bus.

And that got me thinking. Sometimes I don't mind talking to complete strangers on the bus or in the pub or where ever. Sometimes it's nice to get chatting about things. Ok, I think the reason for our inherent phobia of talking to people on public transport, is fear of extreme views. A case in point could be when
and I went to the Brewery Tap at the Cains Brewery in Liverpool and got chatting to a seemingly jovial chap at the bar. The chat, however, swiftly switched from idle banter to a strong antisemetic nationalist rant with the man at the bar sounding remarkably like someone at the Nuremberg Rally. Another case in point is the guy who once cornered me on the 78 and started talking about how the government controls the populace through the covert use of prescription medication.

So yeah, I can understand that people don't really want to talk to each other on the bus for those reasons in illustration. But surely not everyone is like that. It seems people's first reaction to someone talking to them on the bus or train or in the pub is one of suspicion and distrust. Who is this weird person? How dare they talk to me? Are they going to knife me or bum me or stick me in a dark cellar where I will be forced to eat marmite and parsnips until the day I die? But I know I'm not likely to force anyone into eating parsnips or marmite. I don't even have a cellar. I suppose that coupled with the fear of being attacked by marmite wielding weirdos comes the fear that they themselves would be labelled a weirdo. Fear, as they say in Dune, is the mind killer.

Then I thought, what is needed is a kind of badge system. Like say a green badge for "I'm happy to talk to anyone" and a red badge for "Fuck off weirdo". So those with green badges can sit and yatter away to their hearts content and the red badge wearers can scowl and frown and listen to their music or whatever without interruption. It could even be a registered thing so that should you like talking to someone then you take down the number on the badge and look them up on the internet when you get home or what ever. Of course there could also be a voting system like say badge wearer #473083 is very interesting and like prawns so people who like to talk about prawns (there are a lot of people that do) can look out for #473083 on their travels. Furthermore, one might get talking to #23932 and find out they are one of those religious zealot types that want to turn everything into some discussion about Jesus or whatever. You know, like :-

Person #48909823 - "So do you like tea?"

Person #23932 - "I do. In fact in the book of Ba'at chapter 30 it says 'And the lord didst partake in tea and verily there was much rejoicing'. I like tea almost as much as I like Jesus. Jesus can be your friend. Oh yes he can. Do you know Jesus? He is your friend. He is you know."

So the person #48909823 could go and say person #23932 likes to turn everything you talk about into something about Jesus and then people who prefer to talk about Jesus all the time can talk happily to #23932 while those that don't can talk to whoever else.

Of course such a scheme would require some more thinking out. But I reckon it would work well. Especially with the technology of the day.

What do you think?

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Saturday, 26 April 2008


I am Cinderella

Moping the floor

Vacuuming the dust

Of life

I make the bed

The cats

Sure they're fed

The compost bin empty

I Scrub the tiles

Fill the dishwasher

Noughties man

Complete with smiles

You come home

And find something I've missed

A fault, a mistake

You write up a list

So I am Cinderella

My car a coach of mice

But at least I think the house

Is tidy

Clean and nice.

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Friday, 25 April 2008



In the butchers

Person:- Hello, I would like some meat

Butcher:- What type of meat?

Person:- I would like meat from a cow

Butcher:- What cut would you like?

Person:- I would like shin

Butcher:- How much shin would you like?

Person:- I would like 500g's of shin

Butcher:- That will be £3.50 please


In the Butchers

Person:- Hello, I would like 500g of beef shin please

Butcher:- Certainly. That will be £3.50 please.

See how simple it is? How an unnecessary conversation can be condensed into a just one statement and answer? It's not hard really is it?

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Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Seven days seem so far away

Seven nights too long

When I was younger time seemed to drag

Like the knuckles of King Kong

But now time seems to go too fast

When spent like mercuric sand

Though seven days is far away

I know the time's at hand

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Sunday, 16 March 2008

As requested by the remarkable <lj user="das_clive">

Pot-Roasted Loin of Pork with Apple

You will need:

4lb Boned loin of pork (I used a 1lb joint with bones)

1/2 pint Dry Cider (I used Magners)

1/4 pint of Sour Cream (I used greek yoghurt)

1 1/2tsp of salt

For the Stuffing

1 oz Butter (local)

1 small onion (local) chopped

2 oz White bread crumbs (I used granary bread)

2 apples (I used 1) chopped

2 oz raisins

Finely grated rind of 1 orange (I used chopped orange rind)

Pinch of ground cloves

salt & pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (Gas mark 7). In a frying pan melt the butter and sauté the onions for 10 minutes then add the rest of the stuffing ingredients.

2. With the pork rind side down make a horizontal cut between the meat and the fat to make a pocket

3. Stuff the pocket with the stuffing. Roll joint up and tie with string. Score rind with sharp knife

4. Pour the cider and cream into a large casserole. Stir to combine then add the pork RIND SIDE DOWN. Cook in oven uncovered for 30 minutes.

5. Turn joint over so rind is facing upwards. Baste and sprinkle rind with salt. Cook for a further hour basting at 30 minutes.

6. Reduce heat to 180°C (Gas mark 4) and cook for a further 90 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.


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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Dog's dinner.

Caught the bus into Uni this morning with the intent of having a few pints after classes this afternoon. When you catch the peasant wagon not only are you crammed into a oblong metal box with the great unwashed, but you get to hear the various conversations that go on around. They're like social snap shots at times.

This morning I was torn between two gents discussing their various civil penalties (magistrate court fines, community service etc) and a group of girls bitching about some Cassanova who has been putting it about unbeknownst to his current squeeze.

However, as usual the best conversation is always left until last.

**phone rings**

Girl One I'll be there in two minutes. Am just on the bus....ok see you in a bit **hangs up phone** Fucking two faced bitch

Girl Two No. That was two faced.

Girl Three LOLZ0RZZZ

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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Slightly improved poetry by Stegzy Gnomepants.


Stop your incessant whining

You furry mosquito

You're pestering me for food or drink

Or maybe a burrito

You're prowling round the room

Yipping and yowling

You jump up on my desk

When pushed off you start growling

You are an impatient cat

You've only just been fed

It's not your tea for quite some time

So go curl up on t' bed

You're nudging my hand

You're tripping up my feet

Oh for fuck sake you annoying cat

Here! Have a plate of meat.

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Thursday, 6 March 2008

Custard - A poem by Stegalopolis Gnomopantalon


Yellow and gloopy

Yellow and runny

Yellow and lumpy

Yellow and funny

Custard I love you

Custard you're great

Hot in a bowl

Cold on a plate

I like you with pie

I like you quite thick

I like you with jelly

Though some think that sick

But custard oh custard

You yellowly majestic confection

I love you so much

You give me an erection infection

Other poems by the same author

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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

A poem by Stegzy Gnomepants aged 34 & 1/3

You lie on your back

Stretch yourself thin

You turn back your head

I tickle your chin

You lie on the bed

Pretending to sleep

Curled up tight

A soft little heap

I open a tin

You rush to my side

The toffees and chocolates

I just can't hide

You brush up against me

Or play with my lace

Nuzzle your nose

Into my face

For you are a tiger

Or so you might think

You're really a puss cat

Curled up in the sink

Ah thankyou.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Bacon - a poem by t'Gnomepants




Fat soaked



In a pan

Flip it





The room





Of bread



Salad Cream

Ah thankyou

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Saturday, 1 March 2008

Rhubarb - A Crap Poem by Stegzy Gnomepants (poet laureate)


Oh Rhubarb!

Let me hold thee by the stem

Let me experience your aroma

Let me behold your magnificence

For it is thee that tempts me

With custard

Not Mustard

But yea spices such as nutmeg

Or with cream

Long, pink, slender stems

Droopy green parasol leaf

Lightly stewed

Served with beef

Rhubarb! Oh Rhubarb!

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Approx 1am.

- waking with a start at the house shaking WTF!OMG!BLOODYHELL! what's going on?
Mrs Gnomepants - nothing, it's just the cats running about.
- Are you sure? It felt like an earth tremor
Mrs Gnomepants - Yes it was the cats, go back to sleep.
- Oh right. Fucking nuisances.

Monday, 11 February 2008


OK so you've heard of Beatallica, you've even probably heard of Hayseed Dixie.

But Polka Floyd....well words just fail me.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2008


You know when you're baking a cake (yes, baking. That's what people did BT (Before Tescos)) and it fills your kitchen with the lovely aroma of cakey goodness but you can't take it out of the oven yet because it's not ready and otherwise it will be ruined?

Well that's what my 4 minute film is like. Its cooking really nicely (in a metaphorical sense) and it looks first class. However there is still one piece of film to add before the final edition. I'm really really pleased with it. Moreover I'm in a quandary. Next year I have to choose, film & radio or writing & radio. There is no option for writing and film. I really want to do writing and film.

Radio is arse. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the radio module, but in the UK unless you've got experience in a live radio situation you've got as much chance of getting a job in radio as Rabbi Moses Goldsburgstien has of becoming Pope. In effect it is of no consequence. But I'm going to bring it up at my next personal tutorial.

Also today, I started my magazine cover. The assignment brief asks for us to design a full page cover of a magazine catering for young people (16-25...ageist bastards) and so I'm going to do Young Foodie which will cover Local food issues for young people....or something like that.

Last night the wife and I dined on finest Broad Close Farm Shop Pork and Apple Sausages. They were accompanied by mashed potato (made by the wife) and cabbage with an onion and mushroom jus (gravy). If I say so myself they were bloody good sausages! The gravy was also spot on. However the bacon we bought from Hazelhead Hall seems to be off. So I doubt we'll be going there again.

I've been watching Juno too.....

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Sunday, 20 January 2008

Premature: A long post cut down so you can read the abridged version

Ok. Maybe I was a bit angry yesterday.
Mrs Gnomepants and I did eventually get to go to farm shops as planned. But our trip to the international food store in Wakefield will have to wait now until next month.

First port of call was Broad Close Farm Shop in Silkstone. Silkstone is a fairly affluent area of Barnsley. You can tell this because there are few houses and those in the village are all nicely presented and even the village petrol station (yes it still has one) is nicely manicured.

This is the farm shop.

There were also some tasty looking rabbits.

My first worry was that because this shop had been advertising on Dearne FM that it would be overly expensive. But it was new by the looks of it. Small in layout, with only a cooked meat and uncooked meat display, a few baskets of pristine looking vegatables and some expensive looking (locally produced) oils and stuff; brands which I've noticed from other farmshops. There is a concern that the more successful local producers are pushing out the smaller ones before they can get a foot hold making them no better than the corporate giants. Sad thing is I see this happening more and more often and because the demand for finest finest finest foods by the middle class foodies, disillusioned with supermarkets (or just wanting to appear more ethical to the Joneses) pushes up the price of locally produced food, I think the quality and ethical standpoint suffers. But no matter.

Broad Close specialises in pork, lamb and beef and, as it happens, we came out with naught but 4 sausages. I'll tell you about them when I eat them. Anyway, the next stop was to be the Hazelhead Hall Farm Shop in the aptly named Penistone. However just as we were heading into the foothills of the Pennines we saw a sign beckoning us to a seemingly previously unknown farmshop which specialised in fruit and veg. So we stopped off there for a nose.

In a little shed there was a vast selection of fruit and veg. Veg you've never even heard of. Not only that locally produced stuff was clearly labelled. We bought locally produced honey, Brussels sprouts, carrots and some free range eggs. This little farm shop didn't do meat. But that was not to be a consequence because we spent nearly £40 on fruit and veg there which, no doubt, should last us 2 weeks.

So on to Hazelhead Hall. The approach to Hazelhead Hall was nice. A dirt track taking you past future meals (ie live pigs and free range chickens) up to the farm shop itself.

Pigs = where pork and bacon comes from

Chickens come from farms too not just Supermarkets

Hazelhead Hall looked expensive from the outside. A sign in the window announced that their coffee shop was closing for good next week. This probably means that they are going to expand. Again, a farm shop that seemingly specialises in meat. Notably beef and chicken. However there was no chicken available because there had been a run on Free range chicken since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV programmes the other week*.

We ended up spending £10 on a HUGE bag of stewing beef (which should last us the rest of the month if not longer), £4 on a really nice and tasty looking steak and a further £10 on some barn reared chicken which the butcher assured us was not intensively reared (though I do have my reservations about that statement). Either way we spent a heck of a lot of money on that

* Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey are TV Chefs here in the UK. They recently did a series of programmes about how intensively rearing chickens is really cruel and how supermarkets are tricking customers into ignorance about the cost and method of production of bargain basement chicken. It was very interesting. Indeed you should go to and teach yourself something about some of the shit the supermarket has you shovel down your throat.

When we came back from our trek across Barnsley we just put the car away when Joey texted to say her and her boyfriend, Mart, were inbound to the Three Horseshoes in Brierley. I offered to pay for a meal for the missis and we hastily headed down Church Street to join them. However there was a 40th Birthday party on in the restaurant bit so food was off (which was a pisser) but we had a nice drink and chit chat with them before going our separate ways. The wife and I returned to Gnomepants Cottage, ordered a pizza and watched a bit of Red Dragon before falling asleep (Manhunter is miles better than Red Dragon IMO)

Today we nipped down to Blythe to have lunch with Philip (formerly Philip-in-Brighton), his partner Jaq and their lovely little girl Isobella. Philip is a vegetarian so we had a veggie goulash with rice and served with "potato pancakes". After all that roughage I've been making some interesting smells in my trousers this evening. But no matter. It was a delightful repast.